Chris Webb

Chris Webb runs Really Useful Web Apps, a free software program for Bloggers that helps you to get traffic, use social media and more

5 Awesome Twitter Searches

Twitter’s search engine is really one of it’s great features, and in this article I’m going to demonstrate some really cool searches you can do with it.

This is kind of a follow up to Thomas Baekdal’s excellent article here on Twitip “7 Secret Ways To Use Twitter Search” which you should check out as well.

1. Who’s saying stuff about me outside of Twitter?
This search will show you Tweets that people write about you or your company that link out to an external page. This is useful for finding what people are writing about you, or indeed when people link to your site without using your Twitter name
[your name|company] filter:links
Live example: mailchimp filter:links

2. Free Stuff
If you’re on the hunt for freebies, create variants of this search and save them to monitor when companies or bloggers are giving away freebies or offers across Twitter. This will work best if you monitor it over time. Use the “near” search operator to try limiting this to your local area (e.g. near:Sydney).
free code|coupon + keyword
Live example: free code|coupon iphone

3. Who’s showing me love/hate?
The one is a bit sporadic in terms of how effective it is, but if you add a smiley or frown to your search, Twitter (in theory) will show tweets that mention your search term in a positive or negative light. As mentioned, results are not always accurate but this is useful to setup as a monitor if you’re running a marketing campaign and want to keep an eye on the haters …..
@yourname|your real name|company name :) :( -filter:links
Live example: ipad :(

4. Create customers out of thin air
[variants of questions you can answer] ? -filter:links
This one needs a bit of thought and tweaking, but it’s potentially powerful. Essentially, this search finds people asking questions that your product/service/blog post can answer. So if you’ve written a great article on how to use solar power, you might search for:
“solar power” ? -filter:links

That search should show people asking questions related to Solar power due to the ? search operator Twitter supports. Adding the -filter:links will strip links from the results, which are unlikely to be people asking questions of their followers. To further target people asking for advice, just add a “How” or similar at the front.

This creates a constant stream of users you can approach with a recommendation to check out your offering.

Live example: “solar power” ? -filter:links

5. Snipe your competitor’s customers
A variation on (3), this one will find everyone saying negative things in relation to your competitor’s Twitter account, which means it’s time to swoop in and show those neglected souls some love. Add words like “problem” “useless” “unhelpful” to really zero in on unhappy folks.

@competitoraccount :(
Live example: @microsoft :( – (switch for your competitors, I didn’t want to single anyone out!)

Bonus Link

Going outside of Twitter, this article on searching Twitter via Google has some absolutely oustanding ideas to try. Lastly, for more on Twitter’s advanced search operators, check out their guide here.


  • June 11, 2010

    Heh – folks – replace the smileys above with text before you search!

  • June 11, 2010

    u make me feel so smart on Twitter. thanks!

  • June 11, 2010

    wow, I had no clue about these 5 searches. Thanks!

  • June 11, 2010
    Merryl Rosenthal

    So many options, so little time…

    Thanks for more, and worthwhile, ideas.

    Cheers. :)

  • June 11, 2010

    Sweet tips! Didn’t know you could strip links from results. That makes a big difference!

  • June 12, 2010
    Abdur Rab

    Nice post. I will definitely try your tricks to get the required information.

  • June 12, 2010

    Might also want to try – most popular as well as a live stream.

  • June 12, 2010

    Great tips-thanks for sharing.

  • June 13, 2010

    These are just the tips I was looking for. So glad you posted them and I found them. Thank you!

  • June 15, 2010

    Thanks for the kind words guys!

  • June 16, 2010

    I absolutely love searching Twitter for free stuff. What can I say, I’m frugal!!!

  • June 16, 2010

    This is one of the very few articles that I’ve actually come back to more than once. Great ideas and great info. Thanks.

  • June 29, 2010

    it’s = it is

    its = possessive

  • July 15, 2010

    I Like it. I like it a lot. Thanks for looking out for us tweet twits.

  • August 1, 2010

    Hey Chris,

    Check out Kurrently and It searches both Twitter and Facebook in real-time!

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